Extraterrestrial DVD Review
Written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo
2012, 95 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 1st Sept 2014
Michelle Jenner as Julia
Carlos Areces as Angel
Julian Villagran as Julio
Raul Cimas as Carlos
An alien invasion, an ill-fated one-night stand and a hilarious oddball neighbour make up Nacho Vigalondo's occasionally funny yet immensely convoluted Extraterrestrial. The Spaniard's unbalanced sci-fi comedy has the comic tonality of an Edgar Wright production but fails to deliver on its promising set up. The most frustrating aspect of Extraterrestrial is expecting the sci-fi backdrop to take centre stage but reluctantly accepting that it never actually will. The intergalactic theme simply presents a platform for a ludicrous romance to blossom amidst an alarming sense of paranoia. The shining light of Vigalondo's film is the brilliantly scripted yet underplayed role of the obsessive neighbour Angel (Carlos Aceres). Aceres is, without question, the standout performer of ET; he delivers a playfully awkward performance that tickles with delight and helps maintain a degree of engagement.
After a seemingly drunken one night stand, Julio (Julian Villagran), awakens in Julia's (Michelle Jenner) home unbelieving of his actions the night before. The pair soon realise that a spaceship is floating above the Madrid landscape and the city has been evacuated. With no connectivity to civilisation, the scene is set for Julia's boyfriend, Carlos (Raul Cimas) and outcast neighbour Angel to join the duo and plot their plan for survival. The plot soon unravels into a bizarre quadruple with Julia commanding a disproportionate splurge of testosterone. While their impending fate looms large, Vigalondo deep dives into a complex web of tongue-in-cheek romantic deceit and denial. It certainly has its moments of joy, the tennis ball sequence is fantastically over the top and will leave you crying with laughter. It's a disappointment that the comic consistency offers little to write home about.
The credibility of Vigalondo's narrative falls to the wayside when Carlos randomly decides to become the saviour of the human race. He ventures into the streets without any logic, aside from the fact that he wants to be a hero, as if on a whim deciding to risk his life to display a brand of bravery. It's only the heart tugging sequence where Julia inadvertently overhears Carlos' admission of his profound respect for her that makes the pursuit worthwhile. It's as though their long term relationship has masked the essence of their love for one another and prompted the blossom to wilt away. While the charismatic outsider, Julio, offers something fresh and exciting it’s no substitute for longevity.
Vigalondo clearly enjoys himself here and Extraterrestrial certainly offers something lighter than the sharp toothed Open Windows and Timecrimes. If anything positive is to be gleaned from this farcical sci-fi comedy, drop your reservations at the door and go along for the ride. However bumpy it might be.